I hate the O word.
I had an instinctive reaction to it of nausea and anger. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, though, until I was reading Gina Kolata's book, "Rethinking Thin." I had to view the O word a couple hundred times, and it was making me more and more annoyed, so I examined the context in which it was used, especially when she was quoting anti-obesity proponents.
I realized that it's because it takes humans right out of the equation. Obesity is a "problem", an "epidemic". But, you see, chunks of fat aren't floating around out there on their own, pouncing on innocent thin people and eating them. It's not a parasite or microbe that is attacking people, either. It's a state of being.
You can have influenza without people, in a test tube. You can have arsenic and mercury in a test tube as well, with no people. "Obesity", however, does not exist separately from human beings. It is nothing more than a person having more fat tissue than some arbitrary cutoff point. You never see the panic-mongers say, "obese people" or "obese person", however. Yet, when they talk about fighting obesity, or obesity being a problem, they conveniently dehumanize the people that they're referring to.
I am a person, not an epidemic. Not a problem. Not a crisis. A person.